Why people fail as Managers and what HR should do to lift them up: Time Management

The Peter Principle is a clever observation of how people are hired or promoted within an organization. It states that people are promoted based on their performance in their current role rather than their ability to perform in their promoted role. Thus, individuals will always be incompetent immediately after promotion. The principle goes on to say that eventually, employees only stop being promoted once “Managers rise to the level of their incompetence”.

Managers have it the toughest. Skills required by Managers are not always taught to them in school or college. This means that Managers have to acquire these skills over a period of time. Using this ad-hoc method of training, not all Managers are able to perform competently during the initial few months of promotion. One of the biggest challenges for Managers during this period is time management.

Managers cannot manage time

A colleague who was newly promoted to a Manager just couldn’t say “no” to his boss. The unsuspecting boss would ask if a task could be done by the end of the day and the Manager would always say that it would be done. This pattern repeated itself for multiple tasks and the Manager would almost always end his day anywhere between 9 – 11 pm.

A lot of Managers cannot ascertain the amount of time it will take them to complete a task. Also, with multiple tasks that come with being a Manager, it is easy to lose track of time. Many Managers don’t realize that:

  1. they need to prioritize;
  2. they need to learn how long they take to complete tasks;
  3. saying “no” is okay as long as you have a valid reason; and
  4. if they’re running out of time, they need to delegate

What should HR do to lift them up?

Recruitment and promotion processes should use parameters that include skills and abilities that an individual needs to possess for the new job role, rather than those of their current position. Job descriptions should not only include these skills, but also Key Performance Indicators of the job role. This will ensure that the right Managers are hired and promoted and that they are prepared for what is expected of them. This mental preparation is a key step in managing time.

Before jumping into the new role, Managers should be trained adequately for the skills they are expected to possess. Such training should include ‘how-tos’ on time management, prioritizing, self-awareness, saying “no” and delegation.

Schedule regular feedback sessions for Managers with their bosses during the initial months. This enables the passing down of vital observations, tips and tricks from the Manager’s superior that can further enhance the Manager’s performance.

Almost 15,000 people Google “time management” every month. It is a problem that can be addressed effectively with adequate HR support. You can increase productivity at your workplace simply by teaching them how to manage time.